Known as Big Sky Country, the Treasure State, and the Land of Shining Mountains, Montana is recognized as one of the most naturally stunning states in the U.S. It has the seventh-smallest population of the states, but the fourth-largest land area. Montana is home to dozens of picturesque mountain ranges, as well as sprawling badlands and prairies. Montana has three metropolitan areas — Billings, Missoula, and Great Falls — which contain campuses in the University of Montana and Montana State University systems. Montana’s thriving agriculture, oil, and tourism industries make it a great place to earn an online MBA.

Online MBA programs in Montana vary in length, tuition costs, location, and requirements. For students pursuing an online MBA, Montana offers a variety of program options. Montana residents may take advantage of in-state tuition rates at Montana State University or the University of Montana. Out-of-state students should research state-to-state exchange programs, which can save thousands on tuition and other costs. Regardless of residency, attending one of Montana’s online MBA programs over an on-campus program saves money on living costs, textbooks, and travel.

Public and private universities are located in smaller Montana towns, such as Billings, Bozeman, and Missoula. Location matters, even for online students; some programs require campus visits for lectures and events.

Students pursuing an online MBA in Montana should consider GMAT requirements. Business schools often waive GMAT requirements for students with professional experience. For example, the University of Montana offers a GMAT waiver program for applicants with five years of military or professional managerial experience.

Percentage of Students Enrolled by Distance Education
Percentage of students enrolled at Title IV institutions in Montana, by distance education enrollment status, Fall 2012

MBA Concentrations for Montana Students

Students earning an online MBA in Montana often concentrate in a specific area of business. When choosing a concentration, students should consider both their career aspirations and the state’s largest industries. Montana’s most prominent sectors include agriculture, mining, and healthcare. Students enrolled in online MBA programs in Montana should prepare for careers in these industries through concentrations such as those listed below.

 

  • Agriculture: Students learn business principles and management techniques as they relate to agriculture and farming. Coursework covers topics such as agricultural law, pricing, and markets.
  • Oil and Gas Management: Students learn the fundamental economic theories that drive the oil and gas trade. The curriculum covers accounting, government policy, and law as they relate to the oil and gas industry.

Accreditation in Montana

Like on-campus programs, online MBA programs should be accredited. Accredited schools have undergone a rigorous vetting process to ensure high academic standards. Most accredited colleges in the U.S. are regionally accredited, but some earn national accreditation, which is typically reserved for vocational schools. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities handles regional accreditation for Montana institutions.

A degree from an accredited master’s program can boost your earning potential throughout your career. However, choosing a lucrative industry is as important as choosing the right online MBA program.

Montana’s economic landscape has changed over the last several decades. Since 1950, personal income from farming and agricultural services has been replaced by earnings from industries such as healthcare, leisure activities, and business services. Relative to the U.S. as a whole, Montana has relatively high economic activity in the agriculture and forestry sector, which accounts for about 6.4% of the state’s GDP. Mining comprises 6.1% of Montana’s GDP, more than double that of the U.S. as a whole.

The Montana Department of Labor & Industry projects Montana will gain more than 5,000 jobs per year from 2017 to 2025. The fastest-growing industry will be healthcare and assistance, which will add about 1,000 jobs per year. Other sectors expected to grow quickly include construction, leisure, and mining. The best areas for employment in Montana are the northwest, southwest, and eastern regions.

Top Employers in Montana

Company Industry Headquarters City Number of Employees
Walmart Retail Bentonville 4,776

Working for a large corporation often allows for career advancement and increased earning potential. Earning an advanced degree, such as an MBA, ensures you’ll have ample room to grow throughout your career.

A graduate degree almost always results in a higher salary and broader career options. A graduate degree demonstrates mastery of a subject, and an MBA is one of the most impressive and useful master’s degrees available. An MBA can lead to a career in almost any industry and opens doors to leadership and management positions. Businesses of all sizes need talented managers, and an MBA will qualify you to fill these roles.

Average Salary by Degree
Search Programs by Concentration

Careers for MBAs in Montana

Agricultural Operations Manager

Agricultural operations managers oversee the everyday operations of a farm, ranch, or other agricultural business. They manage budgets, supervise employees, and set goals to ensure a large yield and high profits. Depending on experience, operations managers make an average salary of $61,000 to $80,000.

Oil and Gas Operations Manager

Oil and gas operations managers help drilling companies run smoothly. Operations managers for oil and gas companies earn an average of $86,476 per year, and the highest paid managers make over $100,000.

Director of Operations (Healthcare)

Healthcare and social assistance is the fastest-growing industry in Montana. Directors of operations oversee all aspects of a healthcare business. They manage employees, oversee research and development, and work closely with other executives. Directors in the healthcare field earn an average of $99,378 annually.

Operations Manager (Healthcare)

Operations managers in the healthcare industry earn higher salaries than those in agriculture, but less than managers of oil and gas companies. They average $68,000 annually, but some earn nearly $100,000 per year.

Director of Operations (Travel and Hospitality)

Hospitality and leisure is another growing industry in Montana. Hotels and other tourism-related enterprises need leaders to manage their operations and employees. Directors of operations in the hospitality industry make about $81,000 annually.

There is currently only one online MBA program available in Montana; it awards accredited degrees and provides a top-notch education.

Rank School Location Cost Toggle Logo Tuition % Receiving Financial Aid Student Population School Type Description

The University of Montana

Location Missoula, MT Tuition Tuition $17,968 % Receiving Financial Aid 57% Student Population 12,419 School Type Public

Located in Missoula, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, the University of Montana offers the only online MBA in Montana with the flexibility working professionals need. The program offers specializations in sustainability and digital marketing, and students can earn certificates in entertainment management or entrepreneurship.

Students can complete the 32-credit curriculum in one year of full-time study. Part-time students may take up to five years to complete the curriculum. Students with bachelor's degrees from fields other than business must take an additional 15 credits of foundation courses. The school awards credit for independent study and internships. Students need to complete an integrated project during their final semester. The university may waive the GMAT requirement for applicants with a GPA of 3.0 or higher from their bachelor's degree.

The University of Montana holds accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and the business college holds program accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.


Concentrations
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There are many important considerations to make before settling on an online MBA program in Montana. These include factors discussed above like cost, accreditation, and available specializations. The following list includes some key steps to follow during the program research process for MBA options in any state.

  • Compare student outcomes data

    Student outcomes include graduation rate, year-to-year retention rate, the average debt for a graduate from that school, and overall student satisfaction with their degree program. Student outcomes do not guarantee you will be satisfied with a particular program, but can be useful for pinpointing a school’s strengths and weaknesses.

  • Estimate the expected costs of your programs

    Virtually every accredited college or university posts tuition rates online. Additionally, you should research other college-related costs like living accommodations and meal plans (if you plan to live on-campus), administrative fees, and technology fees (for online students). You should also look into scholarships, grants, and other forms of institutional financial aid that can offset some of the costs.

  • Check that classes will fit in with your schedule

    Scheduling is critical for students with other important commitments, such as childcare or full-time employment. Many online programs are asynchronous, or self-paced; students in these tracks are free to complete course requirements on their own schedule. Synchronous programs, on the other hand, require weekly online meetings with teachers and fellow students.

  • Look for partnerships with local businesses

    A large number of online MBA programs include internship and/or capstone practicum requirements ― and in many cases, students are able to gain on-the-job training and real-world office experience. You should look into the school’s business partnerships, particularly in regard to the industry you plan to enter after earning your MBA.

  • Make sure the program is accredited

    Accreditation status should always be available and easily accessible on a school’s website. In addition to regional or national accreditation, some MBA pathways receive programmatic accreditation. Recognized programmatic accreditors for MBA programs include the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the International Accreditation Counsel for Business Education (IACBE).

  • Talk to current students and/or recent alumni

    You should contact the alumni office at each school you are considering and ask to be connected with former students. These individuals can be good sources of information about education costs, life on- and off-campus, local business tips, and other important details for aspiring MBA students.